Cultivating a Child’s Love of Learning
Through conversations with many parents, it is clear that instilling a love of learning in their children is very important. They recognize that it holds a value beyond the present moment and has the potential to impact the rest of their lives, not solely their academic success. Those who grow to appreciate the learning process will be more open to change and discovery, which influences everyday life, stress levels and mental health.
A love of learning builds a child’s strength in a number of areas including competence, motivation, value and cognitive engagement. The development of positive feelings and confidence can be increased through their response to learning something new, deepening existing knowledge, satisfying curiosity and in the process of new skill acquisition. This confidence enables a child to persist through setbacks, negative feedback and challenges to ultimately reach a resolution to the problem they face. Focusing on the process and your child’s effort removes the pressure and negativity that comes with worrying about a bad grade or doing something wrong.
To nurture a love of learning in your child, the following things are most important at home and at school:
- 1. Choice and trying new things
Expose your child to different experiences and observe them to see what sparks their interest, then find additional resources to support continuing their learning. Allow them to choose what they would like to learn more about. When a child is able to select the topic, studies show they are much more engaged in the learning process.
- 2. Hands-on learning
Give children the opportunity to touch, smell, move, act out and experience as much as possible. Tactile experiences and interaction can encourage a child’s imagination, creativity and interest.
- 3. Fun
Find ways to use humour, creative activities, music, games, songs or anything else your child loves to expand on a topic of interest or teach something you would like your child to learn.
- 4. Encourage curiosity and discussion
Conversation, asking questions and discovering together encourages children to problem solve and cultivate their critical thinking skills. Pay attention to what they are asking and find ways to incorporate their interests in future conversations.
5. View challenges and mistakes as opportunities to learn
Teach your children, by example, that it is okay to fail or struggle and that success comes when you learn from your mistakes, work hard and persist. Set reasonable expectations and provide support and encouragement in the process.
Learning that is led by the child and facilitated by a supportive, compassionate parent or teacher is key to creating an environment for children to flourish and grow. Learning from someone who is passionate and enthusiastic is the best influence for any child.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin